If you are like most homeschool moms and families, by the time July and August roll around you are deep in the planning stages for your next homeschool year. For me, that often means organizing and re-organizing our supplies and older curriculum, perusing websites to see what is the latest and greatest in curriculum options, and brainstorming ideas for each of my children. Do you know how to brainstorm with your children? And more importantly, do you know why you should?
ow to Brainstorm with Your Children
Several years ago, I started doing something that has changed the way we homeschool. I began adding a new section to my planning. I sat down with each of my children and enjoyed a brainstorming session to find out about what they actually WANT to learn during the upcoming school year.
We have three boys, all of different ages, and each with varying interests. It can be a challenge, to say the least, to implement a plan that captures their imagination and provides them with the education they need. The simple idea of sitting down to brainstorm with them about their interests has revolutionized how we homeschool.
Finding Common Ground
In our family, we all have a love for animals and a love for exploring. These common interests have ended up being the foundation of our homeschool. By using this passion as a platform to teach my boys, I have been able to get their attention, keep their interest, and inspire them to have a desire to learn.
We have combined a love of art, exploring, animals and nature, history, geography and computer tech to provide a wide range of subject matter, resulting in a well-rounded education for the boys.
When I first began brainstorming with my children about what they have a desire to learn about, their answers were not clearly “science, geography, history & computer tech”. Instead, they said things like, “guns and tanks from World War II” – “computer games” and “making stuff”. I even got one answer of, “can we blow something up?” . . . . to be fair, he clearly categorized it as science.
Application is Key
The key to brainstorming with your children, maybe boys in particular, is in fleshing out some details in their answers and applying them in such a way that you can both be satisfied with the results. Asking them about their interests is easy, the later is a bit trickier. You must keep an open mind.
Get them talking and take notes. Later on, you can dig in a little deeper to find ways to incorporate their ideas with your own. Initially, you are simply conversing and respecting their ideas.
Be creative in finding ways to implement and incorporate their ideas. Use field trips, experiments, books, movies, hands on learning projects and more.
Tips for Brainstorming with Your Children
Here are a few tips for getting started in brainstorming with your children.
- Speak to them individually
- Give them your full attention
- Take notes
- Keep an open mind
- Express interest and show respect to their ideas
- Make it clear that they are instrumental in their own education and have some control of it
- Be creative in implementing their ideas
By asking them first about their own ideas, they are generally much more open to listening to others.
When children feel heard, and feel like a part of the planning, they will gain a greater respect for the big picture and take ownership in their own education. One of the most powerful tools for parenting and teaching alike is having your children take ownership in their actions.
When you brainstorm with and respect the ideas of your children, they become invested in their education. The more invested they become, the more likely they are to place a higher priority on learning.
The child who is interested in blowing something up can inspire a volcano study or the launching of a rocket ship. The idea to learn about guns and tanks leads to a deeper understanding and appreciation of World War II and history. The one with an interest in computer games and tech may just build his own computer from scratch!
The sky is the limit with delight-directed learning. Brainstorming with your children is an extremely valuable tool and leads to a richer homeschool experience for the whole family.
Our brainstorming and delight-directed education has led us down a wonderful path of exploring and adventure. It’s changed the way we homeschool and led to the creation of our own Wildlife Adventures Unit Studies.
Are you excited to see where brainstorming with your children will lead you? We’d love to hear about your experiences!
This article was written by Kelli Becton, blogging at Adventure Homeschool.